Work/Life Balance 
Welcome to the Collections Caretaker e-Newsletter from Northern States Conservation Center. The newsletter is designed to bring you timely and helpful content that is pertinent to situations we all encounter in our museum and archives work. Feel free to let us know what topics you would like to see featured in Collections Caretaker or even contribute an article.
In This Issue
Museum Practice: Why Do We Work So Much?
Featured Course
October 2018 Online Courses
November 2018 Online Courses
Workshops
New Partner Certification Program
Conferences and Meetings
Museum Practice: Why Do We Work So Much?
By Joan Baldwin
 
 
A million years ago when I was a young museum director, I worked a lot. It was hard not to. I lived on site, and work--to bastardize William Wordsworth--was with me late and soon. Even having friends over meant discussing work because conversations began with questions like what's it like to live next door to the period rooms? What's it like, besides mortifying, when the dog barks at the sound of 4th graders on the other side of the velvet ropes?
 
While I was grateful for housing as part of compensation, it definitely affected my ability to separate work from life. It was all too easy to settle down after dinner for a cosy hour writing a grant application as opposed to reading or a walk. My circadian rhythms for what is known in HR as work/life balance were messed up. But that was then. Now you can work 8 hours a day, add on a two hour-plus commute, during which you scan and return emails or phone calls, and you never leave work. It's there on the device of your choosing, and depending on the culture of your organization, you may be criticized or applauded for checking email, texts, and voicemail when you're not officially on the clock.
 
Americans as a group work hard. According to a Gallup 2014 poll, Americans work 47 hours a week, one of the highest numbers in the world, and significantly higher than folks in, say,  the EU countries. Most Americans get at least two weeks off each year, in addition to federally mandated holidays, but for financial reasons many end up not taking the full two weeks. The museum workforce is no exception to the hard work/too much work conundrum. Elizabeth Merritt, director of AAM's Center for the Future of Museums, wrote about a facet of this in 2016, terming it "the sacrifice measure."  In Merritt's scenario, the young and presumably privileged, are willing to accept ridiculously low salaries simply to gain a toehold in the museum community. Although it's unspoken in Merritt's piece, we have to assume that along with the tiny salary comes a huge expectation in terms of workload. The combination of low wages and a ridiculous amount of work is not dissimilar to the Grimm's fairy story where the aspiring princess is told to empty a pond with a spoon full of holes. And as soon as a few agree to that scenario, it becomes increasingly difficult for others to say whoa, no way, I'd have more time off waiting tables and presumably no one would text me that the salt and pepper shakers needed refilling.
 
What kind of culture does your museum or heritage organization have around work? Is there a sense that you're doing something noble? Is there life and death drama to every project? Is time managed sensibly? Or conversely, do you work in a place where deadlines are mutable, where few are held to account? Are you compensated adequately? Do you and your colleagues complain, but still work an extra day's worth each week?
 
Social media sites are used by one third of the world's population. It's likely since you're reading this blog, that you scamper around the Internet with the best of them. If that's true and you aren't thinking about how Silicon Valley and social media changes your brain - not to mention your workday - then you have some more reading to do. You might want to start by listening to this.
 
In the meantime, if you are a museum leader do you model good work practice? Apart from dire events, do you unplug at home and on vacation? Do you talk about your workplace culture with your staff? Do you counsel staff who seem to spend countless hours working and question those who seem to need to work all the time?
 
As museum leaders you don't need one more thing on your to-do lists, but workplace culture matters. If the work week extends from 40 hours to 60 because you can always get something done at midnight or 5:30 am are you really managing time well? Some advice:
  • Tackle your own addictions first. Barring fire or flood, unplug at home and on the weekends.
  • Try not being a museum leader part of every weekend. Be a partner, a parent, an athlete, a friend instead.
  • Talk about your work culture in a generative way at work. Acknowledge the weak spots. Encourage behavioral change.
  • Discuss how texts from home, Facebook and Twitter intrude on work as well.
  • Talk about not taking work home. And if there's a reason for that-like too many interruptions at work-how can that be fixed?
  • Support breaks, walks, the occasional yoga class.
We all want happier, more productive workplaces. And working more isn't always the answer.

Reprinted with permission from Leadership Matters  Posted: September 10, 2018
Thoughts on 21st Century museum leadership by Anne Ackerson and Joan Baldwin
For more information on Leadership please check out other articles from this Blog.
Featured Course: Preservation Environments

The museum's brick exterior wall is crumbling. The powder coated metal
storage shelves have active rust under the foam padding. Objects in fur storage are covered in mold. It is raining in the exhibit hall. This is the damage that occurs to museum buildings or collection when staff do not understand preservation environments. Preservation Environments is essential knowledge for any collecting institution. Everyone should understand how humidity and temperature are controlled by a building and its mechanical system. For museum staff considering a new building - and any institution planning to expand or rebuild an existing one - Preservation Environments provide important information for calculating whether the proposed improvements will actually improve the environmental control of your protective enclosure. Participants learn the advantages and disadvantages of numerous methods of temperature and humidity control. Preservation Environments does not try to turn museum professionals into engineers. Rather, it arms them with the knowledge they need to work with engineers and maintenance professionals. And helps explain why damaged occurred and how to keep it from happening again. 
 
Learn more about museum environments and museum preservation.  Join Ernest Conrad for Preservation Environments beginning November 5, 2018. 
Early Bird Discounts Available for Full Length Courses
 
An Early Bird Discount is available for anyone who signs up for a full length course from museumclasses.org 30 days prior to the start of that course.  
 
Sign up for a full length course up to 30 days prior to its start and save $100.00!
 
For our course list or to sign up: http://www.collectioncare.org/course-list  
 
To take advantage of this discount, you must enter coupon code EARLYBIRD at checkout at collectioncare.org
 
The Early Bird Discount deadline for November courses is October 6, 2018 
October 2018 Courses
 
October 15 to 19, 2018
Instructor: Diana Komejan
Description:
As we march boldly toward the 22nd century, artifact collecting includes that most fragile of materials - plastic. Not only is it in our collections, but it is used to house our collections, too. What problems have you seen? What problems have others seen? What materials are best? What can we, as caretakers, do to minimize long-term damage? Join Diana in this mini-course for discussing care and deterioration of plastics. Bring any questions you have about plastics in your museum.
 
October 1 to November 2, 2018
Instructor: Sue Near
Description:
Sound business practices are critical for a museum to fulfill its mission. Sounds like vegetables, right? Museum management is complex. A museum exists to preserve collections and educate, but it is also an institution that must employ sound business practices while being accountable to the public as a non-profit organization. Instructor Sue Near teaches participants how to administer a successful museum efficiently and effectively. Participants will engage in discussions about the changing cultural climate and its effect on museum operations.
 
October 1 to November 9, 2018
Instructor:  Kimberly Kenney
Description:
Acquiring and holding collections impose specific legal, ethical and professional obligations. Museums must ensure proper management, preservation and use of their collections. A well-crafted collections management policy is key to collections stewardship. Collections Management Policies for Museums and Related Institutions helps participants develop policies that meet professional and legal standards for collections management. Collections Management Policies for Museums and Related Institutions teaches the practical skills and knowledge needed to write and implement such a policy. The course covers the essential components and issues a policy should address. It also highlights the role of the policy in carrying out a museum's mission and guiding stewardship decisions. Participants are expected to draft collections management policies.

October 1 to 26, 2016 NEW DATES!
Instructor:  Karin Hostetter
Description:
Have you done some evaluation but did not get helpful information? Do you wish you could do evaluations, but think it is too hard or too expensive? Do you wonder how to get people to use an offered program more? Evaluations are feasible and easy. This course will help you determine what you really want to know, choose the right process to gather the information, develop meaningful questions, and figure out what the results tell you. Please have a program or text in mind (real or imagined) to work with during the course. Note: this course will not be looking at statistical analysis.
 
October 1 to November 9, 2018
Instructor: Tom Bennett
Description:
Sprucing up your exhibits with safe, effective, inexpensive mounts can be easier and more fun than you thought. With a few tools, good technique and a bit of practice, you will be well on the way to presenting your objects in their most interesting light, with an eye on long-term safety and security. Design and Construction of Exhibit Mounts presents the basics of mountmaking for the small to medium-sized museum including tools, techniques and materials. Be prepared to construct mounts during the course. Students will be sent a list of materials and tools to acquire before the course commences. Come along and exercise your creative side while doing the collection a world of good.
 
October 1 to November 9, 2018
Instructor: Karin Hostetter
Description:
Volunteers should be considered unpaid staff and, like a staff handbook, a strong volunteer organization should have a volunteer handbook. This course goes beyond understanding various aspects of a volunteer program to putting the volunteer program to paper. Create an outline and some draft text for a handbook providing consistency within the volunteers as well a legal support if ever needed.
November 2018 Courses
 
November 5 to 9, 2018
Instructor:  Terri Schindel
Description:
Disaster planning is overwhelming. Where do you start? Talk to Terri about how to get going. Use her checklist to determine your level of preparedness. What do you already have in place? Are you somewhat prepared? What can you do next? Help clarify your current state of readiness and develop future steps to improve it.
  
November 5 to 9, 2018
Instructor: Peggy Schaller
Description:
The heart of every museum is its collection. A mission statement is critical to preserving that collection. Participants in The Mission Statement will discuss their mission statements and whether they really make a difference. Peggy has seen and heard it all as a consultant to small and large museums. She will help you figure out ways to make your mission statement work for you.
 
November 12 to 16, 2018
Instructor:  Karin Hostetter
Description:
What do you do with collection objects that no longer belong in the scientific collection but are too good to throw out? What do you do with the donations that just don't quite 'fit?' Use them in education collections. Their value as educational objects for the public is immeasurable.
 
November 5 to December 14, 2018
Instructor:  Ernest Conrad
Description:
The museum's brick exterior wall is crumbling. The powder coated metal storage shelves have active rust under the foam padding. Objects in fur storage are covered in mold. It is raining in the exhibit hall. This is the damage that occurs to museum buildings or collection when staff do not understand preservation environments. Preservation Environments is essential knowledge for any collecting institution. Everyone should understand how humidity and temperature are controlled by a building and its mechanical system. For museum staff considering a new building - and any institution planning to expand or rebuild an existing one - Preservation Environments provide important information for calculating whether the proposed improvements will actually improve the environmental control of your protective enclosure. Participants learn the advantages and disadvantages of numerous methods of temperature and humidity control. Preservation Environments does not try to turn museum professionals into engineers. Rather, it arms them with the knowledge they need to work with engineers and maintenance professionals. And helps explain why damaged occurred and how to keep it from happening again.
 
November 5 to December 3, 2018
Instructor:  Ann Coppinger
Description:
Caring for textiles demands an understanding of how and why they deteriorate. This course offers a simplified explanation of the origin and structure of textile fibers as well as the finished textile object; be it either a piece of whole cloth or a finished garment. Care of Textiles teaches students to identify fibers, fabric structures and finishes, write condition reports, and understand the agents of deterioration that are harmful to various fabrics both in storage on exhibit. Topics include preparing textiles for storage and exhibit, the use of archival materials with textiles, and three dimensional supports.
 
November 5 to December 3, 2018
Instructor:  Peggy Schaller
Description:
Collection inventories are vital to collection management and security. You need to know what is in your collection to be able to manage it well. This means regular inventories must occur. But knowing you must do them and actually having the time and manpower to complete an inventory are two different things.Collection Inventories discusses everything you ever wanted to know about collection inventories. From how to set one up to how to conduct an inventory. Other topics include what to look for during an inventory and how to reconcile the information
Conferences and Meetings
 
2018  
Oklahoma Museums Association, Edmond, OK
September 19-21, 2018

American Association of State and Local History, Kansas City, MO 
September 26-29, 2018  
 
Southeastern Museums Conference, 2018 Annual Meeting, Jackson, MS
October 8-10, 2018
 
International Foundation for Cultural Property Protection, Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA
October 13-17, 2018   
 
Western Museums Association, Tacoma, WA
October 21-24, 2018   
 
New England Museum Association, Stamford, CT
November 7-9, 2018
   

 
National Association for Interpretation,  
New Orleans, LA
November 27-December 1, 2018

2019 
Mountain-Plains Museums Association, Albuquerque, NM
September 22-September 25, 2019

National Association for Interpretation, Denver, Colorado
November 12-16, 2019

2020
National Association for Interpretation,
Saint Augustine, FL
November 10-14, 2020

Workshops
 
Gawain Weaver 
 
Little Rock, AR 
October 15-18, 2018
New Partner Certification Program: Certified Professional Heritage Interpreter Certification Program. 

Museum Classes is a training partner with John Veverka and Associates for their new Certified Professional Heritage Interpreter Certificate Program. 

While other organizations offer professional certificates in heritage interpretation, our Certified Professional Interpreter Certificates are far more content extensive, taught at a university level, and more in-depth learning experiences than any of the other interpretive certificates. They offer more current content and interpretive examples and case studies, hands-on learning experiences and direct content with the Certificate Manager/Trainer and Coach throughout your Certification experience.

Who is the Certified Professional Heritage Interpreter certificates program for? 

- Individuals wanting a career in/as a professional interpreter.

- Individuals currently working as an interpretive planner, trainer or another interpretive specialist, but have had no college-level training in interpretive planning and related interpretive planning for interpretive media or interpretive training services.

- Consulting firms offering interpretive planning/design services whose staff does not have professional training actually in interpretive planning or college degrees majoring in heritage interpretation.

- Individuals working in the interpretive profession who do not have a B.S. or M.S degree majoring in heritage interpretation or who have had only one or two courses in heritage interpretation and want to advance the professional knowledge of the interpretive profession.

- Folks who wish to use this professional certification for an agency or personal advancement.

-Interpreters with an insatiable desire to learn and be the best they can in interpretation - knowledge is power.

- Based on a University Course progression system consisting of completing actual courses in interpretation, not just taking one course, one open book test and mainly paying the certification course fee. These Certificate courses are offered in a content sequence leading up to the final course in developing your unique interpretive project or visitor experience. 

- Awards CEU (Continuing Education Units) credits for the certification programs and each individual course that is offered as part of the certificate program. While you can work on the certificate programs at your own pace, the estimated completion time is 10 months.

For more information click here 
Submissions and Comments
How to submit an article or upcoming workshops for inclusion in the Newsletter:  
If you would like to submit an article, notice of an organizational meeting or upcoming workshop for an upcoming Collections Caretaker Newsletter, send your submission to peggy@collectioncare.org .  
 
We are always looking for contributions to this newsletter. Submission deadline is the 10th of each month. 
 
Have a comment or suggestion?   
 
Northern States Conservation Center (NSCC) provides training, collection care, preservation and conservation treatment services. NSCC offers online museum studies classes at   museumclasses.org in Collections Management & Care, Museum Administration & Management, Exhibit Practices and Museum Facilities Management.
 
Sincerely,
Helen Alten, Director
Peggy Schaller, Publications Manager